Had a butterfly land on on my shoulder at work. It would flutter in my ear for hours, it was black with orange wings. Today I saw a shadow of it behind me on a wall, and the veins on my left side of my body turned dark purple. This has never happened before, what is going on?


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Anonymous , but you may call me The Monarch,, answered

To judge by your somewhat remarkable description, I would hazard a guess and say the butterfly you encountered in such a surreal fashion was a Lorquin's Admiral.

Lorquin's Admiral, or to give it its latin name Limenitis lorquini, is a member of the Brush-footed Butterfly (Nymphalidae) family and is related to other butterflies under the 'Admiral' name. It has an average wingspan of 2" - 2 5/8" and prefers to live around gardens, parks, forest edges and places of work. Lorquin's Admiral is found in the extreme south-west corner of Canada and throughout Oregon, Washington state and, most pertinently, California. And people's ears, it seems.

Nature Experts Know A Lot About Butterflies, Not So Much About Their Shadows

Lorquin's Admiral seeks nectar from aster, yarrow and common milkweed and can often be found near willow trees. They also feed on Usually the butterflies feed on California buckeye, yerba santa, privet, bird droppings, and dung. They just love some dung, those Larquin's Admirals. So far, there have been no cases known to science of a Larquin's Admiral turning parts of the human anatomy purple, but there's always a first time for everything.

Here's a video giving advice on locating a Lorquin's Admiral. If you find one again, and the same thing happens, please alert your local lepidopterist.

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